Choosing the right puppy: The 3 factors to consider for your lifestyle
1) Your lifestyle.
Buying a puppy and living with the 24/7 practicalities of a dog, can often be different. It’s important to think hard about your daily lifestyle and finances before getting a new puppy.
Many dogs get given up and rehomed for a whole host of different reasons. You may think you would never end up in that situation, but remember, the owners of the thousands of dogs, handed into shelters, probably thought the same at one time.
So be practical - go through the non perfect outcomes as well as the dream; being careful not to let your heart overrule your head.
What will happen if the new puppy, or dog, has separation issues and cannot be left at home alone?
Do you have the money for pet insurance? Or enough income, or savings to pay thousands of pounds in vets bills if something does go wrong?
Can you afford training classes, or even private behavioural help if your dog needs it?
Can you afford a professional groom every 4-8 weeks if you choose a breed that requires it?
Are you able to provide all of the puppy essentials? This New Puppy Checklist list will help you to decide.
If you have the means, the time and are prepared if things don’t go to plan, then great! It’s time to look at the second item on our list.
The breed of dog you choose matters more than many people realise. Picking the wrong breed for your family can turn a lovely expansion of your family unit into a living nightmare, for both you and the dog.
For example, a Border Collie or a BC cross wouldn't be recommended for a first-time, inexperienced, busy home with kids. The breed is more likely to struggle and develop serious behavioural issues than other breeds. A lovely show line Labrador or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is far more likely to fit well in this type of home.
These potential behavioural issues include, but are not limited to, biting the kids, destruction and obsessions disorders, such as light/shadow chasing and car chasing.
Obsessive disorders are horrific for the dog. In breeds such as Border Collies and working spaniels these disorders are common. Behavioural issues can cost you lots of money, stress and tears. They are far easier to prevent than to fix, which is why choosing the right breed for your particular home is so important.
Choosing the right breed of dog for your family can mean that you get the perfect family pet you always dreamed of.
In general working lines are going to need much more stimulation, attention and dog know-how than a non-working line dog. Unless you are going to work with your dog, go hunting or do a sport, then your chances of success are going to be higher with a breed with less demanding needs.
The common misconception of non working lines is that they don’t enjoy going for long walks or won’t be able to keep up with an active family.
When the reality is, that unless you are a family of ultra marathon runners, the chances are your dog will be more than capable of hikes in the woods and strolls to the beach.
To summarise - choosing the right breed is essential. Make sure you see past the cute photos on social media and the fact the puppy is available now. Instead choose the breed that is going to be right for you and your home.
Once you know what breed you are looking for, now it’s time to find a good puppy breeder.
There are so many questionable breeders out there it’s often difficult to know where to look and how to tell the good from the bad.
Once you know what breed you want, join breed groups on Facebook and ask in there. Get in touch with a local trainer or behaviourist. Ask for their breeder recommendations or who to stay away from.
Are the puppies raised inside a home environment? If you want a dog to live indoors; it is much better that the puppy is raised indoors. Those first few weeks matter.
Have you met Mum? Was she calm, happy, alert and in good health? If not, why not?
Have you met Dad? Was he calm, happy, alert and in good health? If not, why not?
What breed-specific health testing have the puppy’s parents had? Google to find out if this is everything the breed should have checked and ensure you see the test results with your own eyes. A vet check and full health testing are not the same thing. Many puppy breeders try to pass a vet check off as health testing, so make sure you see proof of the tests the parents have had.
What imprinting and socialisation is the breeder doing with the puppies? Will they have seen children/other dogs etc?
Did the breeder carry out ENS with the puppies during the correct time frame? For more information on ENS please Google ‘Early Neurological Stimulation’.
Will the puppy breeder be starting toilet training, car training and crate training? If not - why not?
Will the breeder give you two puppies? Most good breeders wouldn’t do this.
What food are the puppies on? Is it a cheap, supermarket brand or a high quality brand with better nutrition?
You may read this and think this list is a little over the top and that loads of people get a puppy and all is fine.
Which is true. Many people get a puppy, have a lovely life and all is perfect.
But many don’t.
There is also the other side of the coin. The side that dog owners don't often see, but trainers and behaviourists see all too often.
Dogs sold as one breed that turn out to be a totally different breed.
Puppies weaned on mash potatoes.
Puppies with broken limbs.
Puppies brought inside for ‘visiting’ purposes, but who actually live outside.
Puppies brought up in filth with limited human contact.
Mums who are under socialised, nervous and therefore shouldn’t be bred from. Mum's temperament will impact the puppies.
Puppies bred from known aggressive parents. These genes will pass down to some of the puppies.
Getting a new puppy can be an exciting time. It can also be overwhelming and difficult sometimes too. This puppy FACEBOOK GROUP can help you find support from other puppy owners.